Charlie Flanagan describes new Garda chief Drew Harris as an Irishman
IRISH justice minister Charlie Flanagan has rejected suggestions new Garda chief Drew Harris is an outsider, describing him as "an Irishman".
The former PSNI Deputy Chief Constable is due to take up his role as Garda Commissioner next week.
He is the first person from outside the force to hold the post and his appointment prompted a legal challenge from the grandson of a victim of the 1971 McGurk's Bar bombing.
The action by Ciarán MacAirt was dismissed by the High Court in Dublin last week.
Mr Flanagan said that Mr Harris worked closely with gardaí while he was with the PSNI.
The justice minister added that he was satisfied that all appropriate levels of security and vetting took place as part of the recruitment process and he would be "an excellent commissioner".
“I note that he has been dubbed an outsider. I reject that. He is an experienced policeman. He has spent all of his career on police issues. He is an Irishman,” Mr Flanagan told reporters at the opening of the new Kevin Street Garda station in Dublin.
A spokesperson for the Department of Justice told RTÉ News that it does not know if Mr Harris is the holder of an Irish passport.